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What Was Chinese Foot Binding and the Lotus Shoes?

Author: Craig Payne
by Craig Payne
Posted: Jun 01, 2021
foot binding

The Lotus shoes are one of the oldest styles of footwear recorded which were designed specifically for females use. However, the manufacturing of these shoes nowadays is actually non-existent and the small number of lotus footwear still around have become preserved in museums and galleries or private collections much like antique items and artifacts. Whilst these shoes were designed for females of all ages, any single woman today that is beyond the age of ten would probably find it impossible to put on this footwear. This is due to this type of footwear had originated from traditional China and was made for women back when foot binding was still being carried out. For anyone not familiar with the method, foot binding practically usually means the binding of the feet with wraps. The importance of this particular binding is such that it is practiced by women as young as ages 2 and 5.

The procedure for foot binding would in all probability be viewed as a brutal action of pride as it involved the act of purposely breaking up the mid-foot and toes of each foot prior to being bound. In addition, this procedure was carried out without any kind of pain alleviation. The intention of this binding was so that the culture at the time deemed that slim and tiny feet had been regarded as being attractive as well as making the woman's movements a lot more womanly. Many misguided beliefs surround the origin with the process of foot binding and the Lotus footwear. One of the more notable of these misconceptions was around the 10th Century time period, when Prince Li Yu which ruled over the Ten kingdoms. Li Yu acquired a concubine in his harem who had extremely small feet and was a wonderful dancer who wore one of the earliest versons of the Lotus footwear.

This foot binding process then began amongst the women of higher classes and royals so that they can imitate his concubine. As a result, foot binding has been strongly associated with prosperity and standing during that period. The subsequent centuries saw to the common adoption with the foot binding all the way through China. The process grew to become such that females who didn't have smaller feet were not marriage suitable. Back then, this became the worst probable fate for a Chinese woman. The brutal method aside however, the Lotus shoe is really a sight to see and the present day world could possibly be taken back from the considerable injuries it really inflicts on the woman. Obviously, once the foot binding grew to become practiced by the masses, varieties came along. The practice was eventually stopped.

Originally, this delicately manufactured footwear were made using natural cotton as well as silk textiles even though there is proof of different versions crafted using other materials for example animal skins. Other versions often had particular characteristics for example high heels and even soles that resemble that of the current wedge shoes. Nevertheless, the most distinguishing characteristic of the Lotus shoe is the sophisticated designs and patterns seen in all of them. Aside from that, most of these shoes had been embroidered with elaborate designs featuring animal and floral motifs together with patterns. This is especially if you go through the scarce and costly shoes made from the best materials that adorned the feet of people in roles of power.

About the Author

Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.

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Author: Craig Payne
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Craig Payne

Member since: Aug 16, 2020
Published articles: 146

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